Instagram is a social network that you can leverage to benefit you, whether you are using it to build your personal brand or promote your business. In order for it to be effective, and worth your time, you need to increase your following on a consistent basis.

With over 500 million users, you have the chance to attract users from every corner of the world. Here are five ways to increase your follower count without spending any money.

1. Leverage your already existing social media audience to attract new followers.

You can quickly attract followers that already know who you are or love your brand.

How?

Simply cross-promote your Instagram profile on your other social media profiles. LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and great places to attract new Instagram followers from. Since they are already following you on other platforms, they are obviously into the content you are already publishing, creating zero resistance when it comes to following your Instagram profile.

Not everyone is plugged into all social networks 24/7. The more places you are connected with someone, the better the chance is of them coming into contact with, and engaging with your content.

2. Use the free business tools Instagram gives you access to.

Instagram’s new business profiles, which mirror Facebook’s business profiles, allow you to take advantage of a prominent “contact’ call-to-action button, which you can use to give your followers a way to email you, call your business or request directions to your business location. You can get information on how to convert a personal Instagram profile to a business one here.

While the added call-to-action button is a great perk, the Insights, or analytics, is what can really help you grow your following. The engagement and impression data shows you what content was more popular and successful, allowing you to post similar content in an attempt to attract new followers. The better understand your current

3. Source content from relevant accounts and repost it.

This tip helps two ways. First, it allows you to easily have enough content to satisfy even the largest followings, and second, it helps to build relationships with other relevant accounts, which often results in them reposting some of your content as well.

When you repost content from another account, make sure to tag them in the photo and mention their Instagram handle in the caption.

There are apps available that download Instagram photos and save them to your phone’s camera roll, so you can quickly repost them to your account. Target accounts that followers you would love to have, because if these accounts decide to repost your content in return, it can quickly attract new followers.

4. Use creativity to draw attention to your account.

Instagram is a photo sharing app, so be creative with your images. If your posts all look like advertisements nobody is going to want to connect with you. Take a look at Oreo’s Instagram account. Without being creative, nobody is going to follow a cookie manufacturer on social media.

The view from an Oreo cookie is unbeatable.

A photo posted by OREO (@oreo) on


New #OreoThins: The Oreo you love, now thinner. Pairs perfectly post adventurous dining.

A photo posted by OREO (@oreo) on

Without the creative angles above, nobody would follow this account, let alone engage with it. Their content receives a very high number of likes and comments, proving that being creative can turn any brand into a hit on social media.

5. Establish your own branded hashtag.

Establishing your own hashtag is a great way to create targeted engagement as long as you use them the right way. Establish a fun hashtag that your customers can use to tag photos that include your product or service.

This allows you to search for the hashtag and repost the images, which will result in more of your followers using the hashtag because they want to see their images on your page, and whenever someone posts an image featuring your product or service it exposes your brand to their social audience.